Open Strong Anne Frank

Essay in need of a Strong Opening

Anne Frank, the Jewish girl whose diary and death in a Nazi concentration camp made her a symbol of the Holocaust, was allegedly baptized posthumously Saturday by a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to whistleblower Helen Radkey, a former member of the church. The ritual was conducted in a Mormon temple in the Dominican Republic, according to Radkey, a Salt Lake City researcher who investigates such incidents, which violate a 2010 pact between the Mormon Church and Jewish leaders.

Radkey discovered that Annelies Marie “Anne” Frank, who died at Bergen Belsen death camp in 1945 at age 15, was baptized by proxy on Saturday. Mormons have submitted versions of her name at least a dozen times for proxy rites and carried out the ritual at least nine times from 1989 to 1999. This time, Frank’s name was discovered in a database that can be used for proxy baptism — a separate process, according to a spokesman for the church. The database is open only to Mormons.

A screen shot of the database shows a page for Frank stating “completed” next to categories labeled “Baptism” and “Confirmation,” with the date Feb. 18, 2012, and the name of the Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple.

Mormon posthumous proxy baptisms for Holocaust victims or Jews who are not direct descendants of Mormons has continued, despite church vows to stop such practices. Negotiations between Mormon and Jewish leaders led to a 1995 agreement for the church to stop the posthumous baptism of all Jews, except in the case of direct ancestors of Mormons, but some Mormons have failed to adhere to the agreement.

The name of Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel was recently submitted to the restricted genealogy website as “ready” for posthumous proxy baptism, though the church says the rite is reserved for the deceased, and Wiesel is alive. Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, was among a group of Jewish leaders who campaigned against the practice and prompted the 2010 pact by which the Mormon Church promises to at least prevent proxy baptism requests for Holocaust victims.

Wiesel last week called on Republican presidential candidate and Mormon Mitt Romney, a former Mormon bishop who has donated millions to the church, to speak out about the practice. The Romney campaign did not immediately reply.  The Frank case follows closely on an apology from the Mormon Church last week for recent posthumous baptisms of Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal’s parents.

The latest baptism of Frank by proxy is especially egregious because she was an unmarried teenager who left no descendants. Mormon officials have stressed that in accordance with the agreements, church members are supposed to submit only the names of their own ancestors.

“The security of the names submissions process for posthumous rites must be questioned, in view of the rash of prominent Jewish Holocaust names that have recently appeared on Mormon temple rolls,” Radkey said about her latest find. “This one sailed straight through, with Anne’s correct name in their ‘secure’ database.”

Radkey said she expects, once word gets out, that church officials will scrub the records as they did with Wiesel and Weisenthal’s parents. The Mormon Church responded later Tuesday in a statement: “The Church keeps its word and is absolutely firm in its commitment to not accept the names of Holocaust victims for proxy baptism. While no system is foolproof in preventing the handful of individuals who are determined to falsify submissions we are committed to taking action against individual abusers who willfully violate the Church’s policy. Ritual baptism should be understood to be an offering based on love and respect; we regret when it becomes a source of contention.”


Exercise Specifics

In the Reply field below this post, write your strongest Opening Paragraph.

Your paragraph must contain a thesis sentence that clearly and boldly proclaims the claim you promise readers you will prove.

In addition, your Opening Paragraph:

  1. Will make strong, perhaps paradoxical claims.
  2. Will sum up a very strong argument your essay will make.
  3. Will NOT LOSE the argument.
  4. Will itself be an argument.
  5. Will be memorable.
  6. Will be debatable, demonstratable, illustratable.
  7. Will be a good example of itself.

Well, maybe it won’t accomplish all 7 goals, but the more the better!

DEADLINE: Today. By Midnight WED MAR 17.

22 Responses to Open Strong Anne Frank

  1. imgoingswimming says:

    The tragic events of the Holocaust took place over 75 years ago were around six million Jewish people lost their lives just because of their faith. When in concentration camps these people had in most cases no possessions, family, or rights, but what they did have was their religion which could not be taken away from them. Now, this has changed, as The Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints has been wrongfully baptizing these people into their church and in some cases several times which has just caused more pain for the Jewish community. Still, over 75 years after the Holocaust the Jewish community is fighting for its people to keep that last thing that they had before they were killed, faith.

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    • davidbdale says:

      Swimming, this is brilliant. The central concept is so strong. Jews lost their lives for their faith, the one thing that couldn’t be taken from them even in the harshest brutality and deprivation. And now the Mormons are trying to take it from them after death. Very impressive. Is there any way you could pack your first sentence with that central conflict? It would be even more powerful if you could get the Mormons’ disrespectful behavior into your first line. I wouldn’t challenge you if you hadn’t just demonstrated your ability.

      Like

  2. person345 says:

    The Holocaust was a terrible event that saw the deaths of millions of Jewish people in Europe during World War II. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are wrongfully baptizing important important Holocaust survivors such as Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel even though they are not even followers of Mormon beliefs. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is unjustly baptizing these important Jewish figures by violating everything that they stood for including their beliefs.

    Like

    • davidbdale says:

      Person, you’ve almost wasted your first sentence on background that can be incorporated later. The tragedy of the Holocaust is not your real subject. The audacity of the posthumous baptisms IS YOUR SUBJECT.

      Then, in both your second and third sentences, you make the same claim, first calling out “wrongfully baptizing,” then describing it as “unjustly baptizing.” Read the sentences carefully together; they’re nearly identical. Elie Wiesel did in fact survive the Holocaust, but, tragically, Anne Frank did not, so it’s inaccurate to call her a Holocaust survivor.

      What I DO REALLY LIKE is the brevity of using just one word to make a claim that “the Mormons should not be baptizing Jews who never expressed an interest in their religion.” You do it twice. “Wrongfully” is a very fine example of a one-word claim of ethical failure. Feel free to leave a revised version of your draft as a Reply to this note.

      Like

  3. justheretopass says:

    The Holocaust wasn’t to long ago in which many Jewish people were killed solely based off their faith. They were trapped in concentration camps and everything was taken from them including their family. They still had their strong faith when they’re spirits were down and continued to worship their religion. The Mormons have been wrongfully baptizing the Jewish community when they are dead without their consent. The Jewish community is trying to keep their faith when they die and not wrongfully baptized without their consent.

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    • davidbdale says:

      JustHere, it’s fine to admire the work of your classmates, and one essential benefit of the blog is that it gives you access to the ideas of your cohorts, but it’s not healthy to be so enamored of their work that you neglect your responsibility to do your own original thinking and writing. This post of yours is mostly a paraphrase of the posts that precede it, almost as if you had read their responses and not the original text. I suggest you return to the story above and craft your own unique approach to the subject matter.

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  4. honeysucklelilac says:

    Anne Frank didn’t write in her diary for herself, she wrote with the perspective of people someday reading her story. On Saturday she was immorally baptized in the Dominican Republic in a Mormon church. Anne Frank and other Jewish people were hunted during the Holocaust because of their religion. The baptizing of someone who does not share the same faith and cannot even have an opinion on the matter because have passed away is unethical. Frank’s story is all about how everything else was taken away from her and her family while they were hiding but the one thing they were able to keep was their faith. Taking away her religious beliefs and replacing them with the Mormon church’s views destroys the message her story tells the thousands of those who have read it.

    Like

    • davidbdale says:

      That’s a clever angle, Honeysuckle, which makes the story your own. Nobody else has even mentioned that Anne Frank wrote a diary, but you make it the focus of what the Mormons have deprived her.

      Now, of course, the posthumous baptism ceremony does no such thing. It doesn’t change Frank’s message or her own beliefs. But it does seem disrespectful for a group of believers to ceremoniously adopt someone outside their faith and without consent inflict a belief system on her.

      So far, nobody has defended the Mormons for wanting to save the eternal soul of a person who was not exposed to the truth of their faith during her lifetime. That angle is surely available and arguable.

      Like

  5. Those victimized by the Holocaust had the ability to make their own life decisions taken away from them upon incarceration into death camps. With nothing material left for them in this world, they died with their faith. Among these individuals was Anne Frank, who is a symbol for Jewish people and a major historically significant figure. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has completely disregarded the Jews and their faith by baptizing them in the name of the Mormon religion. This practice of wrongful baptism erases the Jewish-rooted stories of the victims of the worst atrocity known to man.

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    • davidbdale says:

      That’s really good, Pop. The best opening lines capture the fundamental spirit of the argument and yours certainly does. It doesn’t have to mention Anne Frank by name. It doesn’t have to mention the Mormons. It focuses instead on the gist of the matter: Holocaust victims were deprived of their agency.

      So far I’ve read only the first sentence. I expect the rest of the paragraph to develop the way in which the Mormon church extended that deprivation even beyond the grave.

      “disregarded . . . their faith” comes close. “erases . . . the stories” comes close too. You have 85% delivered on your 100% wonderful opening sentence. Very nice work. Beautiful phrasing throughout, and a very powerful closing sentence too.

      Like

  6. icedcoffeeislife says:

    The tragic events that happen during the Holocaust have left a large whole in Jewish history that can not be overlooked 75 years later. Six million Jewish people lost their lives due to their religious beliefs, being put into concentration camps, separating families from one either is unimaginable. Now, the Church of Latter-Day Saints is stripping Jewish people of their identity by baptizing them. The baptism of Anna Frank is an example of how she has unjustly been baptized by the Church of Latter-Day Saints. This action of baptism is not just taking away from the impact she has had on the history of the Holocaust, but it is taking away from what it means to be Jewish.

    Like

    • davidbdale says:

      I like your approach, Iced. It objects to the HISTORICAL damage inflicted on JEWISH HISTORY by the posthumous Mormon baptizers. I hope it’s obvious to anyone following these Notes that even when the material available to writers is as small as a few paragraphs, individual authors adopt unique approaches and hypotheses.

      I will now ceremonially baptize you into my own belief system by inflicting a revision on your work. I hope it won’t seem overly disrespectful, but I need to eliminate some rhetorical problems in your sentences.

      The tragic events that HAPPENED during the Holocaust LEFT a large HOLE in Jewish history that can not be overlooked 75 years later. UNIMAGINABLY, six million Jewish people, BECAUSE OF THEIR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS, WERE PUT into concentration camps, SEPARATED from their families, and KILLED. Now, the Church of Latter-Day Saints is stripping JEWS of their VERY identity by baptizing them EVEN AFTER THEIR DEATH. The UNJUST POSTHUMOUS baptism of Anna Frank is an example of THIS FINAL DISRESPECT. This PHONY BAPTISM DOESN’T just DIMINISH HER impact on the history of the Holocaust, IT DIMINISHES what it means to be Jewish.

      I hope that enhances and doesn’t diminish your own good work.

      I notice you’re hesitant to call Jewish people Jews, and I appreciate that it can seem like a dangerous word. As long as it’s used respectfully, it’s no different than calling people of the Catholic faith Catholics. I will perhaps get feedback myself on that point if anybody’s paying attention to these Notes, and I would welcome that conversation. Maybe I need some sensitivity training.

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  7. carsonwentz1186 says:

    The Holocaust was a dark period in our worlds history where people just like you and me were being massacred simply for having different values. Anne Frank, the author of the famous Holocaust Diary, was one of those who were killed for having that different belief and has been laid to rest for almost 75 years. It has been recently discovered that her along with many other of the Jews who were killed during the Holocaust have been posthumously baptized by the Mormon Church to revert their faith. Even 75 years after being killed for having their own beliefs, there is no rest for the Jewish community who continue to fight for their right to religion and faith.

    Like

    • davidbdale says:

      Very nice, CW. It follows a careful and logical train of thought step by step to an inevitable conclusion. I don’t think your paragraph itself gives us any evidence of the Jewish community “fighting for their rights,” so the conclusion is a bit unexpected, but that could easily be remedied.

      Like

  8. thecommoncase says:

    The millions of innocent people killed during the Holocaust are still being victimized, even though they have already lost their lives. Members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints have been disrespecting those victims by attempting to baptize deceased victims of the Holocaust and other known figures of the Jewish faith. Mostly recently, Anne Frank was found to have been baptized by the Mormon Church. The twisted actions of the Church of Latter-Day Saints shows how antisemitism is not a thing of the past.

    Like

    • davidbdale says:

      Wow. Tell it, CommonCase. This surely pulls no punches. If I could add just a few words, they would be: “by the Mormon Church 75 years after her death” to emphasize how long after dying she’s still being erased. Otherwise, breathtaking.

      Like

  9. mrmba1 says:

    When a person is stripped of their humanity, their sanity, and will to live, hope through faith is the only thing they have left. Several millions of people during the Holocaust found themselves in this very position, with nothing left to cling to other than their religion. After they passed, this too was stripped away by the people within the Mormon Church, who had the audacity of denying them of even this. They baptized those who suffered through the Holocaust and those who were claimed by it, most notably Anne Frank, revoking them of and disrespecting their religion- the only thing they had left that allowed them to have hope in the most hopeless of catastrophes.

    Like

    • davidbdale says:

      Gorgeous opening sentence, MBA. Followed by a very powerful paragraph that takes small steps but lands each foot loud and hard. You might climb the same step once too often, a little editing would go a long way, but overall this is a very strong, accomplished argument.

      Like

  10. christianity19 says:

    More than six million Jewish people lost their lives due to their religious beliefs, being put into concentration camps, separating families from one either is unimaginable. Now, the Church of Latter-Day Saints is stripping Jewish people of their identity by baptizing them. The baptism of Anna Frank is an example of how she has unjustly been baptized by the Church of Latter-Day Saints. The action of baptizing dead people doesn’t really do anything because they don’t care if they get baptized or not. The matter of fact is that the Nazis were cruel people and didn’t care about the Jewish people.

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    • davidbdale says:

      As has happened before in earlier assignments, C, I need more of your original thinking and phrasing and fewer echoes of other people’s work. You are the first to call the Nazis cruel. I’ll grant you that. But a stronger case for the matter at hand would conclude with a comment about the Mormons.

      Like

  11. johnwick66 says:

    Anne Frank, symbol of by far one of if not the worst atrocities in human history, the Holocaust. She sadly past during it, and since then she has been given the ability to rest in peace. Until recently, when members of the Mormon church posthumously baptized her. Which wouldn’t cause much of a problem except for two things, one Anne Frank was Jewish, so by baptizing her they are attempting to pull her from her Jewish faith, and two, the Jewish and Mormon churches came to an agreement for the Mormon to stop baptizing the deceased Jewish people, which means that the Mormons have gone against their agreement to the Jews. This hasn’t been the first time where the Mormons have gone back against their word to the Jewish faith but it should be one of if not the last.
    The Mormon church should not baptize people of other faiths who have died out of respect to the families of those who passed.

    (Can I get some feedback on this if possible? ) thank you.

    Like

    • davidbdale says:

      Feedback requests are always welcome, JohnWick.

      You have a chatty, let-me-guide-you-by-the-elbow authorial voice, JW, which I respect and will not try to extinguish. It’s comfortable for you; I’ve noted it in your other work; and I want you to feel good about using it. So, if I may, and since you’ve asked for feedback, I’d like to smooth over some of the excesses of your style and show you how to streamline your work without losing its character.

      Anne Frank, symbol of the Holocaust, died during that atrocity, and has rested in peace ever since. Until recently, that is. 75 years after her lamentable death, members of the Mormon church posthumously and inexplicably decided to baptize her. In doing so, they violated two principles. First, Anne Frank was Jewish, so baptizing her denied her Jewish faith. And second, the Mormon church had already renounced the practice of baptizing Jews. Baptizing Anne is not the first betrayal by the Mormon Church, but out of respect to the families of the deceased, it should be the last.

      Does that help?

      Like

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